Safeguarding professionals from across the county joined survivors of domestic and sexual violence, the Minister for Safeguarding, support providers and health specialists at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Derbyshire Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Conference.
The conference, organised by Angelique Foster, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, highlighted the progress made so far in delivering on key aspects of the Derbyshire VAWG Strategy since its launch last July. This includes an increase in the scrutiny of Derbyshire Constabulary and how they handle cases of violence against women and girls. It also covered the wider work on which the Commissioner has led, including securing extra funding for domestic and sexual abuse services, funding the appointment of an internal police stalking coordinator and two community-based stalking advisors.
Importantly, the conference provided the opportunity to identify areas where further improvement is needed, which will enable key partners and stakeholders to produce an action plan for the next 12 months.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Improving services to protect our women and girls in Derbyshire and Derby City is a key priority and developing high standards of services is vital to our success. I am pleased that so many of our partners were able to showcase their work and take part in future planning. It is only by working together that we will make a real difference. An important part of the conference was to listen to women and girls who have experienced this type of violence, their journey and the impact on them and those around them.
“Feedback from those affected helps to shape our Derbyshire-specific VAWG Strategy. I am grateful to the women and girls who have shared their personal experiences as this will help to enhance the support we can provide.
“It was good to have the force highlight the improvements that have been carried out so far. But there is always more to do. I have increased the scrutiny of the force in this area with dedicated Performance Scrutiny meetings on VAWG, to monitor the force’s progress and ensure they continue to build on this work over the coming months.”
Derbyshire Constabulary informed the conference that the force now benefits from new dedicated teams within their ranks including a Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team, a Domestic Abuse Review Team (DART) and a Missing Persons unit. There are also external male and female scrutiny groups with a specific focus on VAWG, and they are developing new ways to increase engagement with stakeholders.
Chief Constable Rachel Swann, said: “This is a really important event and Derbyshire Constabulary remains fully committed to tackling VAWG, through working with our partners to make our county an even safer place for women and girls.”
The conference, held at the Post Mill Centre in South Normanton, also welcomed the Minister for Safeguarding, Sarah Dines MP, who thanked Commissioner Angelique Foster for her leading work on the VAWG agenda.
Commissioner Angelique Foster also launched her second VAWG-specific survey, which will provide further insight from residents of Derbyshire, which will aid the work that will take place in the months ahead.
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